An innovative approach towards tackling food inequality, reducing waste and increasing urban growing has seen Bristol become only the second city in the UK to secure Gold Sustainable Food City status.
Awarded by the independent, Sustainable Food Places Board, the accolade recognises work that also included growing the Bristol’s good food movement and tackling the impacts of food on public health, nature, and climate change.
It follows a successful bid which showcased the comprehensive approach to improving the city’s food system, as well as significant and positive change on a range of key, food issues.
Sustainable Food Places leads a growing good food movement of people and organisations across the UK, who are working towards making healthy, sustainable, local food, a defining characteristic of where they live.
Bristol joins Brighton and Hove who were awarded Gold at the end of last year, with the bid being a city-wide collective effort led by Bristol City Council, Bristol Food Network, Bristol Green Capital Partnership and Resource Futures, as well organisations, citizens and food outlets across the city who logged almost 2000 positive food actions on the Going for Gold website.
The 18-month Going for Gold initiative and Bristol Bites Back Better campaign, focussed on reducing food waste, growing Bristol’s good food movement and community action, buying better, urban food growing, eating better and food equality.
Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor, Bristol City Council and Chairperson of the Going for Gold Steering Group said: “Despite the most challenging of years, we’ve seen extraordinary altruism and a continued fight to resolve not just the issues caused by the pandemic but broader, pre-existing social and environmental issues.
“Our Gold achievement is a testament to the whole city rallying together and taking action, from citizens and organisations to policy makers. More than ever there is a collective energy calling for food that is good for people, communities, and the planet to be available to everyone in Bristol. This award makes it clear that Bristol is on the right path towards a better food future for all its citizens.”
The winning bid highlighted the city’s innovative approach to good food systems and practices; examples include:
- Grow Wilder, an education centre and growing site in Stapleton for sustainable food growing and wildlife-friendly practices
- the work of the University of West of England and the University of Bristol on transforming institutional food culture, including sustainable sourcing, redistributing surplus food, plant-based menus and gardening projects
- The Children’s Kitchen, a programme established across the city to explore eating and growing fresh produce with children
- FOOD Clubs, a partnership project between Family Action, Feeding Bristol and FareShare South West, with 16 clubs across the city providing nutritious food to families at a fraction of the normal cost
In 2016, Bristol was awarded Silver Food Sustainability status.
Joy Carey, Director of Bristol Food Network and strategic coordinator of the Going for Gold bid, said: “Since achieving silver status in 2016, we’ve been determined to support and uncover more individuals, projects and initiatives that are contributing positively to a fairer, healthier and more sustainable food system for the city and its citizens. This is a moment to be celebrated but is most definitely not an end point for us, and all the other key stakeholders in this project.
“We’re gearing up to start work on the Bristol Good Food 2030 action plan, which will see a more joined-up approach to tackling issues such as food insecurity, access to land for growing and food waste, as well as finding better ways to empower Bristolians to create a healthy, accessible and diverse food system fit for the next decade. It’s so important that this plan is framed around the real needs and hopes of our city’s people and communities, and that’s why we’re asking everyone to ‘Join the Conversation’ to share their vision for food in Bristol.”